Have we taken God out of schools?

In another blog post found here, the question was asked have we taken God out of our schools. Of course the opinion of the author is that we have not. To take it further the author is very antagonistic toward anyone who believes we have. While the blog tends to be accepting of many authors most of which seem to want to deconstruct the worldviews of people who have engaged in the “culture wars” if you will. This last post, while sophomoric in nature and in defense of its own opinion fails to make the case that the idea that we have taken God out of schools is wrong.

Personally I think such posts and ideas are very concerning if not dangerous at some level due to the fact that it misses the point in order to propagate this deconstruction. When the truth of the matter is  ignored in order to attempt to push a false narrative then we walk on dangerous grounds. The fact is we did take God out of our schools. The facts are at one time the primary text book for public schools was the Bible. Prayer was a daily occurrence in our schools and there was an encouragement to rely on God even in our studies throughout our school years. In recent years we cannot even engage in prayer in our extra curricular activities such as football games.

So before we could include God in school, openly and without fear and now we cannot. Whatever we do to include God in our schools must be done in secret. Teachers and students may be praying for each other but it is not encouraged openly as it once was. The Bible is persona non grata these days as well. Ignoring the absence of these things does nothing to regain them. Recognizing the ouster of God in our schools in the manner in which we once enjoyed in no way minimizes the prayers of anyone. In fact making such a claim is a logical fallacy known as “begging the question”. No one “insinuated the uselessness of prayer when they said God was taken out of our schools. No one is insulting our teachers when we say God was taken out of our schools. The culture of America was once accepting of prayer and the Bible in schools. The fact that it is no longer accepted in our culture is a direct result of having removed these things in 1962.

It is clear that was the goal of having those things removed from schools. There is no doubt that teachers and parents pray, but it is also true that the culture within our schools has deteriorated since they were. Demonizing those who recognize that God has been taken out of our schools only causes division. One is welcome to have their own opinion but bombastic rhetoric (of which that blog is known for) does not further any discussion. What it does do is work to isolate those with whom they disagree with. One has to wonder if that is not the goal of that blog.

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Anti-Patriotic services, #metoo, and Social Justice, what it is all about.

Once again as they seem to do every year at this time the Gospel Coalition issues their annual “patriotic services are unnecessary division among Christians” speech, founded on nothing and propped up on even less. What I mean by that is the entire article is based on the false idea that we should capitulate to someone who might be offended and that we should naturally, as Christians, think solely in a multi-national sense in our church services. We certainly want to be welcoming to anyone who comes into our services and treat everyone with the utmost respect, even those who may have lifestyles with which we disagree in a severe sense. This should be done with love, a grand gesture of respect, and a deep and sincere concern for them. In short it should be done with genuine Christianity.

I have had the pleasure to travel to other countries. I went to India and preached a crusade in 11 remote villages in a matter of just a few days. I went to Israel and worked with house churches and small ministries. While in Israel I was able to attend a Sudanese church service. Below is the banner which was the only decoration in their building where they held regular services.

As you can see it says “Sudanese Cush Church in Israel”. They are very proud of that banner. Why should I go as a guest and demand they take down their banner so that I might feel more compfortable?  What kind of arrogance would it take to do something like that? Further I ask is why should I be offended at their banner? Their service is not about me or my presence it is about God and singing the praises of what He does for us. In India I not only preached in remote villages but met with those local pastors. At no time did I find within me the arrogant attitude that I should be offended at their services and actions as Indians or Israeli’s. At no time did it occur to me to think of myself and how they should cater to my presence. In fact I appreciated their customs and how they were used to show God their love and praise for His mighty provisions in their lives.

It seems to be that from the liberal left in this country there are two things that they want to force to stand down. First is the white American male, and the second is the American nationality. This kind of reminds me of the NCAA College Football rivalries. The SEC has been a dominate force in the NCAA for a long time and still is. The thing about being dominate after a while is those who are not get envious and discontent because they are not as successful. So the less successful teams and conferences begin to nitpick and needlessly criticize those who are dominate and more successful.

America has had God’s blessings and great success where others have not. Over the many years of this country since its founding we have been happy to share out of the over abundance and we still do today. We send aid to an unknown number of countries, we send aid to war torn, and those countries that suffer great catastrophic weather events. We have come to the aid of our allies against enemies who unjustly do them wrong. It seems, however, that no matter how much we do it is never enough until America and its white males stand down. That is what this is really about. We see it with the #metoo movement, and now the Southern Baptist Convention has taken up the ungodly Social Justice movement, which both are about America and its white males standing down.

Offense and victimization have become the new political tool to gain power and control. It has found its way into our convention and our para-church organizations and even into some of our churches. It is in fact the very source of division. It divides the fabricated victims from the fabricated oppressors and it could be the very cause of a split in the Convention and a new civil war in America.

I pray the Lord does not allow this evil to move any father.

The Dumbing down of Marriage among Christians

So recently Dr. Paige Patterson has been attacked and there are some calling for his resignation as President of Southwestern Theological Seminary. What did this man do to deserve such calls and attacks? He stood up for the institution of marriage and was not quick to call for divorce.

That’s right folks, Dr. Patterson stood for the biblical marriage and was not interested in seeing another broken family. Dr. Patterson, 18 years ago, told a story of counsel he had given a woman who came to him to ask about how to deal abuse from her husband and his response was for her to pray (rather than get a divorce). Yep you have it folks Dr. Patterson told a woman to pray and stay married….oh the shame and agony of it all!

So now we have evangelical people who are calling for his head on a platter because he counseled this woman to follow scripture and trust God to deal with her husband and his hard heart by praying for Him and he didn’t counsel her to divorce her husband. Apparently we live in a day where Evangelicals no longer see marriage as intended to be for a life time and we no longer see seeking God in times of trouble as an answer to life’s troubles.

No woman should ever continue to place herself in a situation where she is being abused. Any man who abuses his wife is lower than a snakes belly. However, the woman removing herself from the abusive situation does not mean that divorce is warranted or inevitable. Any pastor who holds to a biblical position on marriage is going to be very slow to offer counsel to get divorced. We have a God who is bigger than abuse, or adultery, or a great many wrongs in marriages and can restore marriages to a point in which the past and repented sins are not only forgiven but are much like they never happened.

The family is being torn apart in our world today. This is just one more event where the family and biblical marriage is taking a hit because people who call themselves Christians are not willing to stand for family and biblical marriage.

Funny, all the people that are calling for Dr. Patterson’s head on a platter are also the same one’s who have bashed Trump supporters and are against the president. Hmmmm….

Genuine Worship Part Two

In continuing with the topic of genuine worship we last left off with the understanding that worship is not what goes on on the stage or pulpit area. Those who do not understand this look for a good show to make up for the lack of genuine worship. The result is when it is not a good show these people want to go to a church where there is a good show. How sad God must be with His church. What has happened in our churches that we no longer know what genuine worship looks like?

We can start with Hebrews 12:28 which tells us to “offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, (ESV). The word worship in that passage is sometimes also translated as “serve” which in this case means to minister to someone else. Since we are commanded to minister to God in this passage we must ask our self, If we are worried about a show on the stage or if we are being fed in the service, then is our true goal to worship (minister to) God? Some may say “well I want to do both.” and I respond that the latter part of that verse does not allow for both. Let’s look at it, “with reverence and awe.”

If our hearts are prepared to minster to God with reverence and awe can we also truly seek a show on the stage and worry about being fed? My answer is that is impossible. It is much like when Jesus said we cannot serve two masters, we will either hate one and love the other or hold to one and despise the other. I would also suggest that trying to minister to God and get fed at the same time while looking for a show on the stage is being double minded. God said this double minded person is unstable in everything.

This ministering to God is seen in Revelation 4 & 5 of which I call a heavenly worship session. These angels are seen ministering to God with full devotion of heart and mind and have no thoughts of themselves. To minister to God with reverence and awe is to have all humility (awe) and a complete understanding of the power of God (fear). That does not allow for selfish motivations in worship. Our churches are weak because our worship is weak. Our churches need to be strengthened by genuine worship.

Vance Havner once said “When there is a fire you don’t need to advertise it.” If our churches were on fire for God as a result of genuine worship, that would solve many of our churches problems. Until then our churches will be double minded and unstable.

 

Genuine Worship Part One

I recently read an article that discussed what it is that the young un-churched millennials are looking for in churches today. Of the several things that was listed one of them was genuine worship. The question I have is why aren’t our churches looking for this as well? It seems to me that the average church, that is supposed to be Christ centered, has become consumers of the activities that go on, in the pulpit area rather than worshipers of God. I have talked to some well meaning Christians who even say that what goes on in the church on Sunday Mornings is not nor should it be worship. I certainly beg to differ on that one.

I am concerned that we have lost sight of what true biblical worship is, when and where we are supposed to engage it it, and how to conduct ourselves while we do it. Jesus said the Father is always looking for those to worship Him in Truth and Spirit (John 4:24). The author of Hebrews wrote that God expects genuine or even acceptable worship (Hebrews 12:28) By these verses we should understand that how we worship is not left open to our personal whims. Cain tried to worship God his own way and God refused it. Cain did not respond well to God’s refusal and it got him in a bunch of trouble with God. The Israelites tried to worship God their own way while Moses was on the mountain and they also found themselves in some trouble with God.

Yet we think, even in light of scripture, that we can just come to God in worship however we want. It seems that some churches have lost any expectation of God’s power and presence in our worship services so they look to an exciting show to be put together on the stage. This creates a consumer mentality of worship. The end result of this, other than God is not really worshiped, is that if the show is not good enough then people claim they aren’t being fed so they go look for another church where they get what they want.

If we do not worship God daily and then show up to church on Sunday, expecting a show because we do not know what it looks like when God’s power and presence are obvious, then our churches create an atmosphere of disingenuous worship and those looking for it will know it. To bad our regular church people do not.

No the Christian Right did not transform evangelicalism from a religious to a political movement.

I have grown weary of the misrepresentations of differing views in politics but even more so among fellow Christians. In an article posted over at the Gospel Coalition found here there are several statements made that unfortunately completely misrepresent the so called “religious right”. No the Christian Right did not transform evangelicalism from a religious to a political movement. It is these kind of misrepresentations that give Christianity a bad name. There is nothing true about this and there is no foundation on which to make such a claim.

What the religious right has done is to get into the public square a deal with issues that were being ignored as the radical left of the sixties were working to take over government, education, & public radio and television. They were getting their message out. The country was hearing from them their ideology and underhanded misrepresentations of what was really going on in the world so as to create a public perception that would make the political environment more suitable for their agenda. Men like Jerry Falwell came along and stood up to this. James Dobson also stayed in the public eye dealing with biblical principles that were held on to for many years in this country and were being eroded by “free love”, & Communism both of which are anti-God.

The premise of such accusations as we have become a political movement and are no longer a religious one is based on the idea that Christians should not engage or be outspoken about biblical principles or politicians who do and do not hold to them. These same people suggest that if you do one you corrupt the other. None of this is true.

So what is really behind all of this hubub? For starters it seems that in trying to tie everyone together under “Evangelicals” they work to show that the “religious right” was a small aberration with a big mouth that has never been representative of Evangelicals. The problem is the term “Evangelicals” is so broad a term that it encompasses some questionable teachers and therefore is not a true representation of the Christian community. Guys like Tony Campolo, Rob Bell, writers like William Young & Sara Young who are questionable at best. I could go on and on but to draw this down to a clear line of understanding it is the battle between the liberals and conservative. Yes, there are some in between who have sipped the liberal kool-aid on participating in our public square and political process. Never the less these are the ideologies that are at work here.

No, the Christian Right has not turned the religious into the political, ever. Saying so denies that the issues being raised by the Christian Right are biblical ones and it falsely accuses Conservative Christians of abandoning Christian principles. We need more honest representations of each other. The world is watching.